Paul and Marcion

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maryhelena
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Paul and Marcion

Post by maryhelena » Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:58 am

I'm just going to throw an idea out here.....

Some years ago, (goodness 10 years ago, on FRDB, I put up a thread on a new Marcion book by Sebastian Moll.

The Arch-Heretic Marcion by Sebastian Moll

https://frdbarchive.org/viewtopic.php? ... 970&hilit

Stephan Huller put up a counter thread on Sebastian Moll's book.

Why Sebastian Moll's Marcionite Scholarship is Dishonest

https://frdbarchive.org/viewtopic.php? ... 771&hilit

A disagreement arose over Sebastian Moll's view that Marcion's original teaching/belief resolved around an evil god.

The recent thread on the synoptic problem and how Marcion might fit into that problem, motivated me to re-read these two old threads. While doing so the idea of the evil god struck a cord.....yep, mind wondering...

Here is what I'm now thinking.

The writings attributed to Paul have taken Marcion's evil god and transformed that 'evil' god into a celestial crucifixion story. It is in the heavens, i.e. our intellectual capacity, that an 'evil' god has value. Paul's celestial crucifixion requires an 'evil' god.

Methinks Paul has done a transforming of Marcion's fundamental premise - or - Marcion's 'evil' god was always misunderstood by later christian writers. If Marcion was connecting his 'evil' god to the god of the OT - then in fact it was an honor not a dishonor. After all, if intellectual or philosophical progress is to be made then an 'evil' god is a prerequisite. Someone has to do the destroying of the old ideas. Destruction of old ideas is the prerogative of the creator of the new idea.

Later followers of Marcion have, re Sebastian Moll, turned Marcion's 'evil' god into a just god. Seems to me, on a philosophical level, Marcion was way ahead of his time with his 'evil' god....


The Arch-Heretic Marcion: Sebastian Moll

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Arch-Heretic ... 00&sr=8-1

===============
I do place the writing of Marcion prior to the writing of Paul. I think Marcion was pre 70s and Paul post 70s. A reversal of the consensus order. Perhaps though it's not a chronological issue but a philosophical issue. Ah - it's archology of the mind that's needed...... ;)
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Giuseppe
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:18 am

Thanks for the link.

I think that Moll is very correct here:

The Evil God

While recent scholarship has correctly pointed out that Harnack’s perspective is due to his ‘Neoprotestant interpretation” of Marcion, it would be false to claim that there was no evidence in the sources to support his view of a just and a good God within Marcion’s system. As so often, the sources do not provide a coherent picture of Marcion’s doctrine in this matter; however, an extensive chronological overview of the sources’ testimony will show that Marcion’s original distinction was in fact between an evil and a good God, whereas the figure of the just God was only introduced by later generations of his followers.

(my bold)

Celsus is an independent witness of this Marcion's dualism.

But my point is that independent witnesses are not even necessary to find traces of dualism in the same Gospel.

Jesus says again: “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit; for every tree is known by his fruit.” The two trees, said Marcion, are the two Gods. Can evil come from the True God? The Hebrew God cannot be the true, good tree, since he himself declares, by the mouths of Jeremiah and Isaiah, his prophets, that he brings forth evil. The good tree, the True God, is the Father of Jesus, who is goodness itself and brings forth good only.

(P.-L. Couchoud, Creation of Christ, p. 174, my bold)
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Joseph D. L.
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by Joseph D. L. » Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:20 am

Celsus is an independent witness of this Marcion's dualism.
Saying it over and over doesn't make it so.

maryhelena
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by maryhelena » Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:34 am

If anyone is having difficulty with the FRDB archive links - it's easy just to sign up at talkfreethought - present holders of the FRDB archive.

https://talkfreethought.org/
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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Giuseppe
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:08 am

Joseph D. L. wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:20 am
Celsus is an independent witness of this Marcion's dualism.
Saying it over and over doesn't make it so.
even if it was true (and I doubt), it is an hypothesis not necessary for the case. Gospels suffice.

Marks gospel, for instance, holds what can hardly be called other than a Marcionite view of the buffoonish twelve disciples and a Gnostic view of secret teaching which, despite their privileged position, the twelve simply do not grasp. Or think of the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1-8)*: how can one miss the Marcionite implications of Mark‟s setting up Jesus, Moses (the Torah), and Elijah (the Prophets) as in a police line-up, followed by the Father‟s urging that, of the three, Jesus alone is to be heard and heeded? And Mark, of course, refers to Jesus giving his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Though Mark fails to tell us to whom Jesus would be paying this ransom, Marcion tells us. He paid it to the Creator, and no non-Marcionite theologian has produced a better candidate.

(Robert M. Price, Christ Myth Theory and Its Problems, p. 382-383, my bold)
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

davidmartin
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by davidmartin » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:55 am

If Marcion was connecting his 'evil' god to the god of the OT - then in fact it was an honor not a dishonor. After all, if intellectual or philosophical progress is to be made then an 'evil' god is a prerequisite. Someone has to do the destroying of the old ideas. Destruction of old ideas is the prerogative of the creator of the new idea
That is quite a dualistic statement!
There is a difference between destroying and re-interpreting in a new light
One can re-interpret something old by claiming it was the understanding that was faulty not the substance
New ideas can claim to overthrow old ideas yet resemble what they claim to have replaced, once all the excitement has faded
If the answer was so easy it would have been discovered long before we were ever born

maryhelena
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by maryhelena » Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:16 am

davidmartin wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:55 am
If Marcion was connecting his 'evil' god to the god of the OT - then in fact it was an honor not a dishonor. After all, if intellectual or philosophical progress is to be made then an 'evil' god is a prerequisite. Someone has to do the destroying of the old ideas. Destruction of old ideas is the prerogative of the creator of the new idea
That is quite a dualistic statement!
There is a difference between destroying and re-interpreting in a new light
One can re-interpret something old by claiming it was the understanding that was faulty not the substance
New ideas can claim to overthrow old ideas yet resemble what they claim to have replaced, once all the excitement has faded
If the answer was so easy it would have been discovered long before we were ever born
That a reflection of an old idea can be observed within a new idea is possible. In the JC resurrection story, the disciples did not recognize Jesus until he revealed himself to them. Thomas wanted to put his finger into the prints made by the nails of the crucifixion. The 'new' is not just a copy of the old - something must give way in order for change, for transformation.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

maryhelena
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by maryhelena » Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:20 am



Page 55. The Arch-Heretic Marcion: Sebastian Moll.

3. We have seen that the idea of a just God attributed to Marcion is always combined with a tripartite system, in the form of either ‘good God-just God-evil matter’ or ‘good God-just God-evil God’. As Marcion’s original doctrine, however, was without doubt dualistic, the figure of the just God must have been introduced by his followers.

Considering the reason for this development, it seems that the main problem which led to the division among the Marcionites was this: their first God combined two fundamental features, he was Creator and Lawgiver.....That the world was evil was the one unifying belief of all Marcionites at all times, and in order to explain the origin of this evil, it seemed only logical to assume an evil Creator as the cause of this status, in accordance with the idea that only a bad tree brings forth bad fruit....Once they went down that road, however, they had to face the conundrum how the Law could have been given by an evil God, a problem which already compelled Plotemy to introduce a third figure ......Another solution presented itself from Platonic philosophy, as Ephraem Syrus remarks. The Creator could be just and therefore the Law could be just as well, if he had to use already existing (evil) matter to create the world. Thus the Creator was absolved from being responsible for the world’s status. Another group of Marcionites apparently chose to follow Ptolemy’s idea of a tritheistic system, with the good God, the just Creator/Lawgiver, and an evil God instead of evil matter. It is obvious that (from a Marcionite point of view) only a tripartite system of though leaves room for a just God. A good and just God together can alone offer no answer to the crucial issue of the origin of evil. In other words, one axiomatic principle of Marcionite thinking is: there has to be at least one evil player in the game.

my formatting

''...there has to be at least one evil player in the game''.

The trick is to place that evil player within an intellectual context; a context in which a negative dualism has a value.


page 47

Marcion’s dualism forms without doubt the centre of his doctrine. The nature of this dualism does not seem to give rise to much doubt, either, ever since Harnack established his idea that Marcion distinguishes between a just and a good God, and thereby also established a scholarly consensus which lasted for almost a century. However, in the present chapter we shall see that this view is one of the greatest misconceptions concerning Marcion’s teaching, for the heresiarch’s distinction was in fact far less ‘protestant’ than Harnack imagined, as he simply distinquished between an evil and a good God.

1. The Evil God

While recent scholarship has correctly pointed out that Harnack’s perspective is due to his ‘Neoprotestant interpretation” of Marcion, it would be false to claim that there was no evidence in the sources to support his view of a just and a good God within Marcion’s system. As so often, the sources do not provide a coherent picture of Marcion’s doctrine in this matter; however, an extensive chronological overview of the sources’ testimony will show that Marcion’s original distinction was in fact between an evil and a good God, whereas the figure of the just God was only introduced by later generations of his followers.

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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Secret Alias
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:57 am

The way I liken it is as follows. For any of the people at this forum who led normal lives and got married had kids etc. Arguments happen. They usually happen over a series of events which in their rawest form have mutual agreement. Look at Falwell's latest chapter:

https://www.foxnews.com/us/jerry-falwel ... l-911-call

The details are spelled out. No one can deny the core 'thing.' But the details, names etc. are in dispute. The same thing is true with 'Marcion.'

Clearly something called Marcion existed in antiquity. But it is equally true that 'Marcion' is also called Marcellina in parallel reports http://traditionalcatholic.net/Traditio ... 04-07.html. Similarly the Cappodocian fathers identify Marcion as 'Mark' i.e. Marcus of Irenaeus's report AH 1.13 - 21. Also Hegemonius and Justin reference Marcion as Marcian or Marcellus.

There seem to be a number of reports which preserve the same individual or tradition by slightly different names:
Irenaeus (and his tradition) - Marcion (I take the explicit references to 'Marcion' in Justin as Irenaean additions)
Justin, Serapion of Antioch - Marcian
Hegesippus - Marcellina
Hegemonius - Marcellus
Irenaeus/Philosophumena/Cappodican Fathers - Mark
I don't see Irenaeus and Tertullian as the 'oldest' tradition here. Justin and Hegesippus are older. I don't know why we prefer Irenaeus over the other traditions. The fact that other Church Fathers preferred the name does not testify to the information being of better quality. Rather they preferred Irenaeus for political, doctrinal reasons. Not sure what the name of this figure was.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Secret Alias
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Re: Paul and Marcion

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:22 am

On the heretic Marcian and Marcion. Eusebius tells us about Serapion of Antioch c. 190 CE:
When I visited you I supposed that all of you held the true faith, and as I had not read the Gospel which they put forward under the name of Peter, I said, If this is the only thing which occasions dispute among you, let it be read. But now having learned, from what has been told me, that their mind was involved in some heresy, I will hasten to come to you again. Therefore, brethren, expect me shortly.

5. But you will learn, brethren, from what has been written to you, that we perceived the nature of the heresy of Marcian (αἱρέσεως ὁ Μαρκιανός), and that, not understanding what he was saying, he contradicted himself.

6. For having obtained this Gospel from others who had studied it diligently, namely, from the successors of those who first used it, whom we call Docetæ (for most of their opinions are connected with the teaching of that school ) we have been able to read it through, and we find many things in accordance with the true doctrine of the Saviour, but some things added to that doctrine, which we have pointed out for you farther on.
Also in the anonymous anti-Montanist of Book 5:
For some of the heresies have a great many martyrs; but surely we shall not on that account agree with them or confess that they hold the truth. And first, indeed, those called Marcionites, from the heresy of Marcion (ἀπὸ τῆς Μαρκίωνος αἱρέσεως Μαρκιανισταὶ), say that they have a multitude of martyrs for Christ; yet they do not confess Christ himself in truth.
And Eusebius also notes that Irenaeus also directed the Demonstration to Marcian:
Besides the works and letters of Irenæus which we have mentioned, a certain book of his On Knowledge, written against the Greeks, very concise and remarkably forcible, is extant; and another, which he dedicated to a brother Marcian (Μαρκιανῷ), In Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching; and a volume containing various Dissertations, in which he mentions the Epistle to the Hebrews and the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, making quotations from them.
The translator of the Demonstration muses that Marcian might go back to Marcion.

The Muratorian Canon speaks of the Marciani. Hegesippus long before Irenaeus speaks of:
ἀπὸ τούτων Μενανδριανισταὶ καὶ Μαρκιανισταὶ καὶ Καρποκρατιανοὶ καὶ Οὐαλεντινιανοὶ καὶ Βασιλειδιανοὶ καὶ Σατορνιλιανοὶ ἕκαστος ἰδίως καὶ ἑτεροίως ἰδίαν δόξαν παρεισηγάγο[4.22.6]σαν, ἀπὸ τούτων ψευδόχριστοι, ψευδοπροφῆται, ψευδαπόστολοι, οἵτινες ἐμέρισαν τὴν ἕνωσιν τῆς ἐκκλησίας φθοριμαίοις λόγοις κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ κατὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ».
It is worth noting that if there was a group associated with Marcia, the concubine of Commodus I think the sect would be known as Μαρκιανισταὶ. Perhaps it is this that they are avoiding with Marcellina, Marcion, Marcian, Marcellus and the like.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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